Caterpillar to Butterfly: Voice By Position TO Voice By Your Identity To Jesus
From Caterpillar to Cocoon to Butterfly – Part XVIII
In this series we have been asking the question, “What happens with metamorphosis during the cocoon stage?” How, structurally, do you get a butterfly from what once was a caterpillar? In my Aug. 20, 2011’s blog, I listed several forms of transformation that I see occurring inside the cocoon of change for the church. Today we will look at the principle: Identity lies in who or what you are in the system (Caterpillar) TO Your identity lies in who or what you are in Jesus individually & corporately (butterfly).
Caterpillar: In the church today, position means political influence. Who you are, or better yet, what you are in the church’s pyramidal system determines the influence you are allowed to have in the institutions programs, development, and leadership structures. In every church, the youth have a voice, but usually not influence in the affairs of the church. Those older too have a voice, but also have influence because of financially supporting the church system. Often the lack of vision, and not listening to the voice of youth bring decline, decay, and eventually devastation to the local church. One of the greatest frustrations among laity is that they have a voice, often are allowed to voice it, only to be ignored, snubbed, or rejected. Those in “position” have the power of influence, affluence, and supposedly become the “voice” of the church, forgetting that those there are preaching to also have a voice.
Butterfly: Voice is also important to those seeking a relational, horizontal, peer accepting linear church structure. In fact that is what their whole social networking world is about, having a voice that is as valid as everyone else’s voice. This linear flow of communication has no hierarchal filters to limit it, control it, dictate to it, nor censor it. Freedom of Speech is a legal right in American because of the Bill of Rights, but the internet is expanding the scope of that freedom to go beyond America’s borders to a world wide audience. Your identity “on line” will not be by office or position, but in who you are. How will you conduct yourself among your “peers” of believers in Jesus Christ and your peers of non-Christians who are also “on line”? How can relationships be established beyond surface communications on line to deeper levels of serving others and receiving back from them?
The Differences: Old Mentality: Voice determines who and what you are in the church system. Who “speaks” from the pulpit, or “speaks” with power and influence a church board meetings, is determined by position and office, not relationships. In a pyramidal structure people do not want to give up their voice, for fear they will lose it and become with those who have no voice, thus fighting to retain power. New Mentality: Having “voice” gives one the power of persuasion, dialogue, and distributing facts which is what the linear, horizontal peer relationships are all about with social networking through the internet.
Implications Today: Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” I would ask, “Who are you?” One thing this linear communication does is expose who you are through your biography, photos, Facebook comments, tweets, texts, emails, and blogs. If you are a Christian, I would ask, how do you portray your self individually as a believer in Jesus Christ and corporately as a member of “the priesthood of believers”? If you don’t have a hierarchy over you, then how do you conduct and portray yourself as a Christian? How are you presenting the gospel (the Great Commission) to your peers relationally? How can you project your “voice” to be corporate as a member of the body of Christ, the priesthood of believers through the internet?
Conclusion: The way a Christian uses his/her “voice” is dramatically changing the church scene of who and how the gospel is presented. The “voice” of the church, historically, came from those in power and influence, not those in the pews with little power or influence. With the social media and networking world, “voice” is now defined by anyone and everyone on a linear, horizontal plain. With that new freedom also come the responsibility to every believer, every member of the priesthood of believers, to speak properly, effectively, and with the gospel of truth through Jesus Christ. There is now a new challenge for every believer to fulfill the Great Commission by sharing their faith stories, telling their faith journey, and networking with others in their efforts to walk out their walks and journeys, creating their own stories.